UMKC IHD is pleased to announce the addition of Michael B. Abel, Ph.D., as new Associate Director of Research and Evaluation. Dr. Abel will provide leadership to UMKC IHD’s scholarly work and activities related to early childhood, health and aging, and community policy and development.

Head shot of Dr. Mike Abel
Dr. Mike Abel,
Associate Director of Research and Evaluation

Abel brings expertise and a professional background in early childhood education. Most recently, he served as Director of Research and Evaluation at the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University in Chicago, Illinois, where he collaborated with state and national entities to promote research in the early childhood field. From 2006-2013, he conducted applied research at UMKC IHD as a research associate on the early childhood team. Abel gained previous experience as an operations manager and adjunct instructor at Metropolitan Community College and as Director of a childcare center and a private K-8 academy.

Abel is a long-time leader in the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) including tenures as Missouri President, Illinois Vice-President, and accreditation peer reviewer of college teacher preparation programs. He is a current member of the NAEYC Affiliate Advisory Council.

“We are delighted to welcome Mike back to UMKC IHD,” said Dr. George Gotto, Interim Director of UMKC IHD, “and we’re excited about the direction he will take our research and evaluation program.”

Abel is also co-author of a newly released book, Building Whole Leadership: Energizing and Strengthening Your Early Childhood Program* (2019). The publication offers confidence-building guidance for leaders of early childhood programs as they face modern challenges in their field and navigate shifting attitudes and norms in the lives of children, families, organizations, and communities.

Abel’s education includes an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Educational Leadership Policy and Foundations from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, an M.A. in Educational Administration from Concordia University and an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from UMKC.

*Masterson, M., PhD, Abel, M., PhD, Talan, T., EdD, JD, & Bella, J., EdD. (2019). Building on Whole Leadership: Energizing and Strengthening Your Early Childhood Program. Louisville, NC: Gryphon House.